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I've been hiding in meeting rooms muchof yesterday and today, talking with the press about this week's announcementsand the state of the market. Yesterday afternoon, I met with threeJapanese journalists for what was one of the best interviews I've donein a long time.These guys were prepared! Theyhad excellent questions which reflected the Japanese cultural tendencyto think long-term and in multiple directions. I don't speak Japanese,but I know a few of the key phrases and intonations of the language. Combinethat with the "Engrish" (romanji character) pronunciation ofmany of the technical words, and I was able to understand most of the questionseven before they had been translated. The eye contact was intense,the laughter reflected in the creases in the corner of the eye, and itall worked despite my constant reminder to myself to say "hai"at appropriate points and never to use the word "no".So what was the question worth blogging? It was, essentially -- four years ago, you announced a J2EE-basedcollaboration strategy. It was a two-lane highway. Today wehear a lot of news about ongoing investment and enhancement in the coreNotes/Domino technologies, and no two-lane highway. What has changedand why?I love this question (and I told theJapanese that I do). The question is asked at user groups, by journalists,by CIOs. It requires a philosophical answer, but is one that I getasked enough that I've honed the philosophy.When Al Zollar stood on that stage fouryears ago and announced collaboration for J2EE, a number of things drovethe decision. The primary two still make perfect sense today. 1) Software is becoming componentized. You can see it in the way IBM and others build solutions today.The new Sametime uses an Eclipse framework, a Codec from someone else,etc. Making components to provide collaborative capabilities is agood idea. 2) J2EE, or alternatively .NET, havebecome the primary languages for application developers. The forecastin 2002 was that by 2005, 80% of all new apps would be written in one orthe other. I don't think it happened that way -- for a variety ofreasons, I think the number is lower. But it is still a fact thata new computer science graduate from unversity is more likely to be focusedon Java or .NET than anything else. And convincing them learn todevelop in Domino Designer is a challenge, because it's "proprietary"to one (albeit incredibly popular) platform.So we had to start getting behind oneof these development platforms, and as IBM, it makes sense that we choseJava. The Workplace Collaboration Services, and many of the Workplace-brandedproducts, reflect this. But a funny thing happened on the way toJ2EE-based collaboration -- market adoption of Notes/Domino continued,and more importantly, existing customers grew their Domino investmentsthrough larger user populations and increasing numbers of applications.The problem with the "two-lanehighway" was that there was an implication you would eventually haveto move to the other lane, and it would take some superhuman feat to doso. There's no ROI in migration, and IBM -- unlike our primary competitor-- just don't believe in it. So instead of following separate andparallel development paths, we started finding ways to integrate the new,Java-based, componentized technologies with the existing Notes/Domino products.This results in several things you saw/heardyesterday -- at the client side, Notes integrates with the Workplace ManagedClient as a plug-in. The next version of Domino will integrate portaltechnologies into the server. They are still Notes and Domino-- running every Notes application that you do today, with no architecturalchanges required. But now we integrate the Activities model intoNotes; we integrate the components into Notes (Sametime 7.5 will providethe IM plug-in for Notes "Hannover"). It becomes the bestof all worlds -- continuing investment and innovation for the productsin use by 61,000 customers today, while adopting for the "nextgen"of Java-based programming. Tools like IBM Workplace Designer helpbridge the two, by providing a Java-based development tool that works likeDomino Designer. In a future version, it will even build rich clientapplications.I have been at Lotus through this entiretransition and journey. And when I see what the development teamhas done to leverage our strengths and heritage, combined with toolingfor the future, it makes me incredibly proud to be a part of all of this. We're doing what's right for customers, not just what's convenientfor us (whehter that be a 64-bit migration or an obsolesence of existingproduct APIs). It takes more work, but the best and the brightestare making it happen. And the best part is, it has made Notes evenmore powerful, and more useful, for the next sixteen years of its lifecycle.
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